No Greater Love
Rembrandt, one of the greatest painters the world has ever known, did something amazing in his universally respected work, The Raising of the Cross. He included himself in the painting as one of those who crucified Jesus! It’s a truth we each need to acknowledge for ourselves.
Why would he do that?
Why would Rembrant do such a thing? Because he believed what the Bible says about us—that we have all failed God and are guilty before him. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), and “the wages of sin is death [eternal separation from God in a place of punishment]” (Romans 6:23). Left to ourselves, our ultimate destiny will be to experience the wrath of God forever.
Why would Jesus die?
But God offers us hope in the good news of Jesus Christ. Jesus is fully God. But he also became fully man when he came to earth to be born as a baby so he could make a way for our sins to be forgiven. Then later, as a grown man, he died on the cross, taking the punishment for our sins, dying in our place.
That is why just before Jesus died, he shouted, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). He was taking the awful punishment for our sins upon himself. “Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous [Christ] for the unrighteous [us], that he might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). There is no greater love.
What did Jesus’ death have to do with us?
Because God loved us, he sent Jesus to die for us and be our Savior. But like any gift, this precious provision of God’s Son to die in our place is not ours until we receive it personally. “To all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12). By virtue of his death on our behalf, Jesus now offers full pardon to all, but only those who ask him for it will receive it.
If you want to receive God’s gift of forgiveness and eternal life today, you can tell Jesus in words like these: Lord Jesus, I acknowledge that I have disobeyed you in many ways. I believe that when you died on the cross, you were taking the penalty for my sins so I could be forgiven. I know there is no greater love than this. I now turn from trying to be good enough on my own and receive you as my Savior from my sins and their consequences. Please forgive me, and make me a new person from the inside out. Thank you, Jesus, for becoming my Savior!